After three weeks of activities out on the water, I ventured into the Costa Rican rainforest and spent a morning exploring the hanging bridges at Arenal National Park. It was a morning well spent, and I would recommend the tour for anyone looking to fill in a schedule gap and see some of the region’s native plant and wildlife.
I’m not sure why, when I scheduled this nature tour, I was imagining hanging bridges reminiscent of Indiana Jones: a series of rotting wooden planks suspended by badly frayed rope. Of course the bridges were nothing like that, much to my relief! The hanging bridges tour consisted of a combination of regular and suspension bridges, all of which were well maintained, in excellent condition, and provided safe passage through the national park.
While on the tour, our Desafio guide, Isidro, was able to spot a couple of incredible animals (the man had the eyes of a hawk!), including a family of howler monkeys, a well-camouflaged lizard, and a vibrant blue-jeans frog. In order to better see these creatures without disturbing them, Isidro had a telescope that he set up for us each time he spotted something new along the trail. With a little bit of patience and some delicate maneuvering, I was even able to take some pictures through its lens with my cell phone.
The walking part of the tour was easy and low-impact, with the steepest part being the hill that led to and from a hidden waterfall and crystal-clear river. At the end of the tour, we returned to the bus, where freshly cut fruit and cold bottles of water and juice were waiting for us. From pick up to drop off, the whole tour took about 3.5 hours.
Recommendations for this tour:
I highly recommend putting on insect repellent before enjoying this tour.
Wear sneakers or close-toed shoes (the national park will not let you enter in sandals).
Wear light-weight clothing that breathes—it gets hot and humid on the trail!
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